By: Eric Jacobson, Ascend Integrated Media LLC
“Convening Leaders is my happy place! I go every year – without question,” says Missy Johnson, Heartland Chapter member, CMP and Meetings Consultant. “I just put it in my budget because I know that I’ll have major FOMO if I don’t!
The education is awesome, the opportunity to network with people from all of the country is offered nowhere else and the feeling of energy and motivation I bring home with me every time brings me a lot of joy to start of each year,” she adds.
Missy was among the 100 people who attended the Heartland Chapter’s reception during Convening Leaders, where this year’s sponsors gave away prizes. A big “thank you” to our sponsors:
- Explore St. Louis
- Oklahoma City CVB
- Visit Kansas City
- Omaha CVB
- Little Rock CVB
- Great Wolf Lodge
- Four Seasons Worldwide
- Catch Des Moines
- Visit Wichita
- Discover St. Charles
- Explore Branson
- Visit Rogers
- Visit Tulsa
Overall, record-breaking attendance brought more 4,500 people to Convening Leaders in Nashville, TN the second week of January. Known for the industry’s best education and cutting-edge learning environments, this year featured plenty of new engaging elements.
For example, as Kerry Kerr, Chapter president explains, “Convening Leaders always opens up new ideas for my client’s meetings. Here are pictures of the ballroom where they had their exhibitors and other learning resources set up around the perimeter. Instead of traditional booths, they all had a large white tower with their logo, and you could plug in a headset and listen to content.
They also had this huge video wall showing the keynotes etc. Lots of comfy seating, a center stage for more live sessions, and a coffee station made it the perfect place for mixing and mingling throughout the conference.
Additionally, they combined breakout sessions with exhibitors, creating a very energized environment with constant traffic, while reducing their need for breakout rooms.”
This year at Convening Leaders also included 104 scholarship recipients who attended the conference through the support of the PCMA Education Foundation – the highest number ever! Among those winners was Heartland Chapter member Lisa Boon.
“In addition to meeting so many amazing event professionals, I really enjoyed seeing how PCMA runs all aspects of their program. For example, I attended a first-time attendee orientation where I was able to meet other newbies (like me!) and tour the event space. I loved this idea, not only to get acquainted with the event layout, but also because I was able to connect with new people before the event officially started,” says Boon.
In addition, our Chapter award four students with scholarships to attend. They included:
- Danielle Noll – Kansas State
- Janae McKinney – Kansas State
- Vanessa McCauley – Kansas State
- Mariel Robert – Kansas State
Finally, here are some fun facts about this year’s Convening Leaders:
- 4,457 on-site attendees from 54 countries
- 1,604 live streaming attendees from 35 countries
- 156 presenters/speakers
- 150 sessions
- 260 participants in the 5K race